E-Scooters And E-Bikes – The Future Of Mobility Or Safety Risks On Wheels?
Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition stands behind efforts to reduce car dependency to promote human health, the health of our city, and the health of our planet. Most residents see the benefits of promoting micro mobility such as electric scooters, and of course they support bicycle riding to enable people to get around without cars for daily trips, and for visitors to enjoy and support businesses in our city. Sadly some others have reacted negatively on social media to the introduction of scooters in Asbury Park. They are apparently in the thrall of auto industry influence to keep our streets flooded with cars (whether they’re gas powered, electric, or autonomous). They seem to be unable to get past the (low) incidence of crashes, they focus on “scary” encounters with scooter (and bike) riders, they neglect to acknowledge 40K deaths by car each year, and have abject fear of anything new on our streets. For historical context, here’s a fun history of cars in the early 1900’s. *
*Note that the term “accident is used throughout the article. This journalist/historian seems to be unaware that use of “accident” was promoted by the auto industry to take the onus off drivers. “Accident” implies unavoidable. They are all crashes. #crashnotaccident.*
Read this excellent article in Forbes, and the study on e-scooters globally. This is only one of many dozens of articles in the past several years, and more during Covid, available to those who would like to learn about the future of mobility across the world. The current US administration supports building infrastructure in cities for people to get around without cars. We can build our city, Asbury Park to be resilient, healthy, and possibly car-free within the decade, but only if we have the will to do so.
For more for excellent, in-depth information, see this article from Forbes.
The “Safe Micromobility” report found that motor vehicles are involved in 80% of fatal crashes with e-scooters and bicycles.
A new report published by the International Transport Forum (ITF), a Paris-based intergovernmental organization with 60 member countries within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), examined how the rapid proliferation of micro-vehicles could be safely integrated into existing urban traffic patterns to help ensure that micro-vehicle riders and pedestrians would not become crash victims.
“Innovation in micromobility may bring new crash risks,” Alexandre Santacreu, a road safety policy analyst for the ITF and principal author of the report, said in a video statement. “But if we understand those risks, we can counter them.”
Here are some additional findings from the study:
- E-scooter riders do not face significantly higher risk of road traffic death or injury than cyclists.
- Traffic will be safer if e-scooter and bicycle trips replace travel by car or motorcycle.
- The fast-paced evolution of micro-vehicles challenges governments to put in safety regulations in place that take into account the future of all mobility.
“Street design must also serve the safety of those using micro-vehicles,” Santacreu added. Making it safe creates an opportunity for “shaping a sustainable urban mobility landscape.”
Read for more in-depth information in this article from Forbes.
- Ensures every urban and suburban signalized intersection has basic pedestrian infrastructure, like curb ramps, pedestrian signal heads that display “Walk” and “Don’t Walk” messages and crosswalks.
- Sets speed limits based on safety, not based on how fast drivers can speed through our cities and towns.
- Gives local residents a voice in what kind of infrastructure is needed.
- Gives engineers flexibility to design streets that are safe enough for children, and all vulnerable users to navigate.I join America Walks in asking that FHWA reframe and rewrite the MUTCD, creating a path for guidance that aligns with the equity, safety, and sustainability goals of American cities, as well as those of the Biden Administration.
As we move into the next phases of adjustment to what a “post-covid” world could be like, we have a great opportunity to make permanent, big changes in our cities to make streets safe for everyone, especially the most vulnerable in Asbury Park. We have a car problem, not a parking problem. #toomanycars
Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition advocates for the city to adopt a Vision Zero Policy for Asbury Park to prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities.
Crashes can be prevented by building traffic calming measures that prioritize people walking and riding bikes, like truly protected bike lanes, bulb-outs, and to #slowthecars, mini traffic circles, and other built infrastructure to effectively make it impossible to speed, and unlikely not to see a traffic signal. As long as the design of our streets make it easy to speed, there will be crashes. Let’s keep the conversation going. Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition is here to help, advocating for safe, equitable access for everyone, especially the most vulnerable. This is Traffic Calming 101: https://apcompletestreets.org/traffic-calming-101/. Spread the word. Follow and support @asburyparkcompletestreets.
Buttigieg’s Infrastructure Plan Calls for a National Vision Zero
His commitment to pair massive projects with a $200 billion job retraining program and 6 million new jobs has echoes of the Green New Deal, supported by candidates like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Buttigieg goes further, however, in linking road-building with road safety: As president, he’d commit to a national Vision Zero policy. Sweden, where the traffic safety movement was born in 1997, has made Vision Zero a national priority; other countries like Canada and the Netherlands have followed suit by launching country-wide campaigns and setting out sustainable safety approaches, respectively. In the U.S., however, Vision Zero goals have been set at the state and city level, with varying levels of ambition and success.
Read more: $1 trillion in investment in roads, utilities, broadband, public transportation, and lead mitigation, while putting more power in the hands of local communities to use funding on their own terms.
Decommissioning even a fraction of our estimated two billion parking spots, for instance, could free up critical space for sorely needed affordable housing, parks, in-neighborhood grocery stores, and so much more; some advocates argue that simply ending local mandatory parking minimums so we don’t build any more unnecessary spots would have a seismic effect on American life.
Even thoughtfully removing small bits of asphalt without repurposing that land for other uses can carry benefits, for a simple reason: it reduces demand for car travel, while making streets safer for the vulnerable road users that remain.
READ ABOUT IT>DE-PAVING
Buttigieg says Transportation Department will push ‘bold’ thinking
“Today we face an unprecedented health crisis, we’re navigating an economy in danger and our nation is reckoning with the impacts of systemic racism,” he said in the one-minute campaign-style video. “But with new leadership comes a new opportunity, a chance to build our transportation system back better than it ever was before.”
The Dangerous By Design Report
If the streets in your city are not designed for you and your kids, parents, or grandparents to walk or ride a bike, they are dangerous by design. Are there transit and mobility options for people to get around without a car? If not, your city streets are designed to prioritize traffic, not people.
Automobile crashes are occurring in every city in the US, including a rash of recent crashes at certain intersections in Asbury Park. The time is NOW to take a serious look at the way our streets are designed, and demand change. Our cities are designed to prioritize drivers of motor vehicles leading to more deaths and fatalities than ever.
“The four most recent years on record (2016-2019) are the most deadly years for pedestrian deaths since 1990. During this ten-year period, 53,435 people were hit and killed by drivers.
In 2019, the 6,237 people killed is the equivalent of more than 17 people dying per day. ”
This doesn’t include 2020, the year of COVID when traffic fatalities went up, with less driving.
Learn about Dangerous By Design, and add your name to the petition for the 2021 Federal Complete Streets Bill.
The number of people struck and killed by drivers nationwide while walking increased by an astonishing 45 percent over the last decade (2010-2019).
The four most recent years on record (2016-2019) are the most deadly years for pedestrian deaths since 1990. During this ten-year period, 53,435 people were hit and killed by drivers.
In 2019, the 6,237 people killed is the equivalent of more than 17 people dying per day.
The risk is not evenly distributed
Older adults, people of color, and people walking in low-income communities are disproportionately represented in fatal crashes involving people walking—even after controlling for differences in population size and walking rates.
Although people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and income levels suffer the consequences of dangerous street design, some neighborhoods and groups of people bear a larger share of the burden than others, which may contribute to the indifference of many policymakers to this astonishing increase. From 2010-2019, Black people were struck and killed by drivers at a 82 percent higher rate than White, non-Hispanic Americans. For American Indian and Alaska Native people, that disparity climbs to 221 percent.
A Federal Complete Streets Bill – Support the federal Complete Streets Act of 2021
America’s streets are deadly. For too long, federal policy has prioritized high-speed driving at the expense of safety; tens of thousands of people are killed every year because of it. The number of people struck and killed by drivers while walking increased by 45 percent over the last decade. We are in the midst of an astonishing safety crisis as the United States has become an incredibly deadly place to go for a walk.
But a handful of leaders in the U.S. House and Senate have introduced a bill that would finally require states and metro areas to design and build safer streets for everyone. The Complete Streets Act of 2021 is desperately needed but it will take your support—and the support of your members of Congress—to get this bill passed into law.
Support this long-awaited federal Complete Streets bill—tell your senators and representative to co-sponsor the Complete Streets Act
Send a message to your Congressional representatives today urging them to support this legislation that could help lead to safer streets for people of all ages, races and abilities.
Take one minute to help make a safer, healthier, and more equitable community.
Support this long-awaited federal Complete Streets bill—tell your senators and representative to co-sponsor the Complete Streets Act
Today, Senator Edward J. Markey (MA) and Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) re-introduced the Complete Streets Act of 2019, a bill that promotes safer and more accessible street design across the United States.
The United States has a crisis: pedestrian fatalities increased by 35.4 percent between 2008 and 2017. In 2018 alone, 6,227 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes, the highest fatality rate since 1990.
The alarming increase in the number of people killed while walking is happening because our streets, which we designed for the movement of vehicles, have not changed. In fact, we are continuing to design streets that are dangerous for all people.
These numbers can change with better street design (as we argue in our landmark report on pedestrian fatalities every other year). A “Complete Street” is one designed to provide safe and accessible transportation options for multiple modes of travel, as well as for people of all ages and abilities. They can accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit users, not just cars and freight vehicles.
To create safer streets, the Complete Streets Act does three basic things:
- Sets aside federal funds to support Complete Streets projects (five percent of annual federal highway funds)
- Requires states to create a program to provide technical assistance and award funding for communities to build Complete Streets projects
- Directs localities to adopt a Complete Streets policy that meets a minimum set of standards to access that dedicated funding
The Complete Streets Act requires that states set aside a portion of their federal highway funding to create a grant program that funds Complete Streets projects to make transit routes safer and more accessible. Through this program, eligible local and regional entities can apply for technical assistance and capital funding to build safe streets projects, such as sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, and bus stops.
The federal Complete Streets Act is modeled on a landmark law in Massachusetts that has catalyzed the adoption of nearly 200 local Complete Street policies and implementation plans and funded over 100 safety projects in just three years. The cumulative effect is safer roads for everyone—no matter whether they’re walking, biking, scooting, taking transit, or driving.
Click to read more and send a message to your Congressional representatives today urging them to support this legislation that could help lead to safer streets for people of all ages, races and abilities.
Highlights from Pete Buttigieg’s Confirmation Hearing
We love hearing Pete using Complete Streets language!
League Of American Bicyclists tweeted “Pete Buttigieg called out “auto-centric” transportation, and notes the importance of street design that enables biking and walking and people to get around in other ways. He says funding should follow. We’ll certainly be following up on that commitment.”
StreetsblogUSA reports Buttigieg is “introducing the language of safe streets advocacy into the chambers of Congress, where words like “auto-centric”, are rarely used to describe why our road network is so dangerous.”
Kudos for this: Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz: “our departments of transportation tend to be the departments of cars”.
NPR reported He received a “damn refreshing” friendly reception” at the hearing.
We’re feeling hopeful that there may be change on US roads, and our own streets too. We must continue to call for more and better infrastructure to #slowthecars, and demand that the city address the prioritization of cars in street design. #toomanycars
1. Buttigieg plans to put dollars behind multi-modal travel
Secretary Pete’s use of the word “auto-centric” got a lot of love from advocates, and for good reason; it’s easily the most apt adjective to define the last century of U.S. transportation planning, which has typically privileged the fast movement of cars above all else.
2. A not-so-subtle nod to Vision Zero
As a presidential candidate, Buttigieg famously proposed a national commitment to end traffic violence deaths in the U.S.
3. Complete Streets gets a shout-out
The surprise breakout star of Buttigieg’s confirmation hearing may have been Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz, who gained some fans in the safe streets crowd when he asked the nominee whether he would “clarify that the objective [is to] not to always think in terms of widening the aperture through which the maximum number of cars can move at the maximum speed.” (He also lamented that “our departments of transportation tend to be the departments of cars” — a slogan which belongs on a coffee mug, stat.) Buttigieg’s response earned him some high-fives on Twitter, too:
When we were undertaking a Complete Streets approach in the city of South Bend, it meant a lot to us to have moral support from folks in the [U.S.] DOT under Secretary [Anthony] Foxx, who agreed with that vision. I think it’s very important that we recognize the importance of roadways where pedestrians, bicycles, vehicles in any other mode can coexist peacefully. That Complete Streets vision will continue to enjoy support from me, if confirmed.
There are no easy ways to describe 2020 as it comes to a close. In the past weeks writers have been philosophizing, analyzing, probing for meaning and grasping for lessons going forward. In Asbury Park we can learn from the mistakes made during these months during the pandemic. We’ve had false starts, beginning with rolling out a neighborhood Slow Streets program without enough community input, and quickly dismantling it. We made the great step of prioritizing people by implementing an Open Streets plan on Cookman Ave (with the hope of making it permanent), allowing foot traffic, outdoor dining and retail on the street between Thursdays and Monday mornings. Then a we sent a conflicting message that cars rule, advertising free holiday parking and welcoming drivers back. Asbury Park social justice advocates are working to limit police interaction in mental health calls and traffic enforcement. And Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition is continually working with city leaders to make city streets safer and more livable, especially for the most vulnerable. None of it will be easy, and we are grateful for community support.
Onward to 2021.
Goodbye to 2020, a Truly Unimaginable Year for Sustainable Transportation
Let’s pause for a second and imagine that we could go back in time to Dec. 31, 2019, and tell sustainable transportation advocates what this year held in store for our movement.
Imagine how those hypothetical advocates would react if you told them that, within a few months, roughly two-thirds of all car traffic would abruptly vanish from U.S. streets.
Imagine what our former selves would say you if you told them that such a rapture would prompt countless cities across the country to transform roadways that used to be dedicated exclusively to private vehicles into places to play, move, eat, shop, learn, and more.
Then imagine their faces if you told them that countless other cities would do nothing at all, even as those wide-empty streets encouraged the drivers who remained to speed out of control — forcing per-mile car crash rates to a terrifying, 15-year high.
Read this great article:
For most of my life I paid almost no attention to the design of the built environment around me. As a person walking, riding a bike, and driving, plus teaching 6 children to navigate their neighborhood on foot, on bikes, and cars, I moved about in my world – using streets and sidewalks without taking much notice of the actual design of crosswalks, or striping of lanes.
This changed dramatically when I became involved in the issue of a road reconfiguration in Asbury Park. Suddenly, clarity! I began to notice every detail of the design of the city, and the ways that people utilize the infrastructure that exists around them. What had been invisible to me is probably invisible to most people who move through their days to school, work, recreation…and it’s been planned to function that way. I began to notice how much of my (any) city, or suburb is devoted to the level of service for motor vehicles, and street storage (aka parking). I researched city and suburban planning and design, and learned that automotive industry titans were the major players in the early 20th century in get everyone into cars, and the rest is history. Over the course of time we’ve been conditioned to use, but not to notice design around us.
Recommended listening: 99% Invisible Podcast, and the following article about the new book, The 99 Percent Invisible City: a Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design, reveals the secret history of urban errata around the world and on your own block.
‘A City is a Series of Choices Over Time’: Roman Mars Reveals the Secret Histories That Shape Our Streets
For over 10 years, the “99 Percent Invisible” podcast has been a touchstone for anyone interested in the often-overlooked design choices that shape our world — and particularly, the auto-centric design choices that shape our streets. More than 400 million downloads later, host Roman Mars collaborated with producer Kurt Kohlstedt to co-author The 99 Percent Invisible City: a Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design, which reveals the secret history of urban errata around the world and on your own block.
From the surprising insights that gave the jersey barrier its curves to the bizarre crash that lead to the invention of the roadway centerline, the stories in its pages inspire us to give the everyday a second look — and realize how profoundly our streets can be remade by simple design choices, no matter the violent history that may have built them.
We talked with Mars about his new book, and why wonder might be the missing ingredient in the fight to end traffic violence.
From the interview:
“I think it all comes from the relatively recent concept that streets are for cars, so there’s no reason to look at them any closer. And of course, that’s a relatively recent narrative, and it was consciously created by the powerful voices of motordom. For centuries, our streets were a truly multimodal and multipurpose space: they had pedestrians and trolleycars and horses and vendors and all these things, until we ceded that territory a hundred years ago to the automobile. We’re just now starting to figure out what we lost when we made that shift, and how to get it back.
What I’d most like people to do with the book is recognize that a city is a series of choices over time, and there is nothing inherent in a street that says that a car belongs on a road and a pedestrian only belongs on a sidewalk — or maybe at crosswalk, but only when the light changes. It wasn’t always that way, and we can modify it to be however we want it to be.”